They trained six hours a day, six days a week, and were home-schooled to accommodate the intense schedule.
When both gave up the sport before high school, Stevens was looking for something else to do.
She found pole vault, and told Petty about the sport. They’ve quickly become two of the best pole vaulters in area history.
Stevens leads the area with a vault of 12 feet, 10 inches, set earlier this month. Petty finished second in a national indoor meet two weeks ago.
Both have a chance to break the area record of 13-1 at the 86th annual Texas Relays on Saturday in Austin.
“We both found a real passion for pole vaulting,” Petty said. “I think we have to give all the credit to our gymnastics training.”
Both said their best gymnastics event was the vault, which has a similar concept as pole vault of running full speed before launching.
It helped Petty that she also grew a foot taller after giving up gymnastics.
Petty cleared 13-41/2 while competing unattached at the New Balance National Indoor meet in New York at the beginning of the month. Last year, she set the Southwest Preparatory Conference record with a leap of 12-4.
Petty, who took up pole vault less than two years ago, is so new to the sport that she didn’t have a qualifying height to enter last year’s Texas Relays.
Stevens has been competing since her freshman year, finishing fourth in the 2011 Class 5A state meet. She missed last year’s state meet because of a broken ankle.
Both said they’re hoping to hit the 13-foot mark Saturday, and possibly break the area record. If one vaulter gets the record, it might not last more than a few minutes before the other sets another record height.
“I got my competition involved in the game,” Stevens joked about Petty. “I kind of put that on myself.”